Monday, June 15, 2015

On "Losing" Subsidies

No one yet knows how SCOTUS will rule in King v Burntwell, but that hasn't stopped the doomsayers from claiming that a gazillion people will "lose their subsidies" should Plaintiff (King) prevail.

No, they won't.

That's because you can't lose something to which you were never entitled.

The fact of the matter is, should SCOTUS insist that the law be applied as it was written, then folks in states using the site were never eligible to receive subsidies in the first place.

It's really not that complicated:

Here in Ohio, we have a very cool program called the Golden Buckeye card:

"All Ohioans age 60 or older ... are eligible for a free Golden Buckeye card ... Merchants of all types (e.g., restaurants, retail, auto care, medical and more) voluntarily offer special savings or deals for older Ohioans who carry [it]."

Now let's suppose that I (who have not yet reached that august age) do, in fact, patronize a store that offers a GB discount. Am I "losing" that discount (aka subsidy)? No, since I don't qualify for it. It really is that simple.

What's frustrating (albeit not surprising) to me is the wailing and gnashing of teeth, as if the evil folks who dare to upset the subsidy applecart are somehow the villains. No, they are not; that would be the bureauweenies (primarily the IRS) who granted them to ineligible folks in the first place.

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